For almost two years, this site has covered the controversy over Bell Canada’s “relevant ads program” and privacy advocates’ complaints about its deceptiveness and lack of meaningful informed consent (search “CRTC” to find some of the past coverage). In a nutshell: Bell was using consumer information for targeted advertising without opt-in consent and without detailed information that would been necessary for informed consent.
At long last, the Canadian Radio-Television and Communications Commission ( CRTC) issued its decision, and it’s somewhat disappointing. The CRTC basically decided the Public Interest Advocacy Centre and the Consumers’ Association of Canada (PIAC-CAC) application was moot because Bell voluntarily withdrew the program in April 2015 (after a finding by the Privacy Commissioner that indicated which way the regulatory wind was blowing).
Embedded in today’s CRTC decision is a reminder/warning, however, about the need for detailed information and opt-in approach for any companies planning to launch a targeted advertising program.